On Wednesday, June 12th, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to take the first step towards protecting hunting on millions of acres of federal public land.
The House Natural Resources Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (HR 1825), consider potential amendments, and then vote on the full bill. HR 1825, introduced by Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI), is the most significant legislation protecting sportsmen’s access in the past 16 years.
The key provision of the bill is the “Open Until Closed” language, which mandates that U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are open to fishing, hunting and recreational shooting unless specific steps are taken to close those lands for necessary and demonstrable reasons. This language is designed to “shut the door” on abusive lawsuits by anti-hunting groups that aim to push sportsmen and women off federal lands.